There are plenty of big names and big games in the Premier League this weekend, but what are the burning questions ahead of Matchday Six?
The Sky Sports cameras will be at the London Stadium for West Ham’s game with Tottenham on Saturday; at the Amex Stadium for the first top-flight clash between Brighton and Newcastle on Super Sunday; and then at the Emirates for Arsenal v West Brom on Monday Night Football.
Elsewhere, the early top three of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea all play at 3pm on Saturday as they seek to establish early momentum in the title race.
Here are 10 big questions we expect to see answered this weekend…
Will Harry Kane continue to destroy Tottenham’s London rivals? (West Ham v Tottenham, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 11.30am on Saturday)
Harry Kane has played in 28 Premier League London derbies for Tottenham and has scored in 19 of them, averaging a goal every 120 minutes against sides from the capital. His record against West Ham is even more formidable, as he ha scored five goals in his last five appearances against them.
However, he was not celebrating on his last visit to the London Stadium as West Ham beat Spurs 1-0 to effectively end their opponents’ Premier League title challenge last season. Slaven Bilic’s side have, in fact, won three of their last four home matches against Tottenham without conceding a goal so Kane will be looking to overcome those omens and improve his own London legacy.
West Ham vs Tottenham
September 23, 2017, 11:30am
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Will Burnley v Huddersfield be decided by men from Down Under? (Burnley v Huddersfield, 3pm, Saturday)
Burnley’s first top-flight meeting with Huddersfield since March 1971 takes place at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon – and there’s an Antipodean angle to the fixture when assessing the key players from each side. New Zealand’s Chris Wood has two goals in three Premier League games so far and he will be looking to continue his strong record against Huddersfield; he has scored against them in each of the last two seasons.
Lining up against him is Australia’s Aaron Mooy, who was this week named as Australia’s Footballer of the Year for the second season in a row and was man of the match in last week’s draw with Leicester. The battle between Mooy and Wood could go a long way to determining the outcome of this one.
Is Everton v Bournemouth the Premier League’s most exciting fixture? (Everton v Bournemouth, 3pm, Saturday)
The short history of Premier League meetings between these two sides includes a couple of classics. When they met at Goodison Park last February, fans were treated to nine goals – including four in the final seven minutes – as Everton won 6-3. And who could forget the Vitality Stadium epic in November 2015 when Ross Barkley put his side 3-2 up five minutes into injury-time – only to be denied by Junior Stanislas’ 98th-minute equaliser for Bournemouth?
We’ve enjoyed 19 goals in four Premier League clashes between them – nearly five per game – but both sides will start this game in the relegation zone having only scored a combined five goals between them so far. History tells us that should change on Saturday afternoon…
How low can Crystal Palace go? (Manchester City v Crystal Palace, 3pm, Saturday)
Crystal Palace are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table as the only team without a point so far this season, and they have made history by becoming the first team in the English top-flight to not to score a single goal in losing their first five matches. If they lose and fail to score this weekend they will be the first team in English league history to fail to do so in their first six matches of a season.
The fixture computer has not been kind to Roy Hodgson. Palace’s next two fixtures are away from home against the best two sides in the country at the moment – Manchester City and Manchester United. If they lose both of those they’ll become only the second side in Premier League history to open a season with seven defeats. Manchester City, on the back of their six-goal mauling of Watford last Saturday, will surely smell blood.
Will Manchester United’s away fans have a new song for Romelu Lukaku? (Southampton v Manchester United, 3pm Saturday)
This week, Manchester United have been liaising with anti-racism group Kick It Out over the lyrics to a crowd song which includes “offensive and discriminatory” lyrics about the size of striker Romelu Lukaku’s penis. “Racist stereotypes are never acceptable in football or wider society, irrespective of any intention to show support for a player,” a Kick It Out statement read.
United’s away supporters have been encouraged to avoid the song at St Mary’s on Saturday, though their summer signing is surely worthy of a replacement ditty in his honour. Remarkably, the Belgian has scored more Premier League goals this season (5) than Southampton (4), despite attempting 47 shots fewer and will be looking to add to that tally this weekend.
Will Chelsea keep 11 men on the pitch? (Stoke v Chelsea, 3pm Saturday)
Chelsea start the weekend in third place in the Premier League table, but they are bottom of the disciplinary table after picking up three red cards and nine yellows in their five games so far. They’ve also committed 68 fouls – more than any other team – and will be without defender David Luiz after he was sent off for a nasty lunge on Arsenal’s Sead Kolasinac on Super Sunday.
In contrast, Stoke City have kept 11 men on the pitch in every game and have only picked up four bookings – the second best disciplinary record in the top division after Brighton. Manager Mark Hughes will looking for every advantage he can get as he seeks a second Premier League win of the season; the first was when another London giant – Arsenal – visited the Bet365 Stadium in August.
Are Watford vulnerable to Sanches and Bony? (Swansea v Watford, 3pm Saturday)
The arrivals of Wilfried Bony and Renato Sanches at Swansea in August prompted optimism that the team could avoid another season of struggle in the Premier League, but they have done little to improve them offensively so far. The team has scored just two goals in the Premier League and have attempted only seven shots on target in their five matches.
That news will come as some relief to Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, who shipped six goals against Manchester City last Saturday. Marco Silva will hope that hammering hasn’t shattered the confidence of a team that had not lost in their first four fixtures and could win three consecutive top-flight away matches for the first time in their history if they are successful at the Liberty Stadium.
Will Liverpool start taking their chances? (Leicester v Liverpool, 5.30pm Saturday)
Eighty shots. Three goals. Liverpool’s finishing has badly let them down over the past week and a failure to capitalise on their first-half dominance at Leicester was a key factor in their 2-0 defeat in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp vented his frustration after the game at his side’s failure to take their “big chances”, as he called them. His players had 21 efforts on goal in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup match, 35 against Burnley in the Premier League and 24 against Sevilla in the Champions League. They didn’t win any of those games – and need to improve in that area if they are to avoid defeat to Craig Shakespeare’s side for the second time in a week.
Will Chris Hughton’s Brighton fall further behind Newcastle? (Brighton v Newcastle, live on Super Sunday on Sky Sports Premier League from 3.30pm)
Brighton looked certainties to win the Sky Bet Championship last season when, following a 2-1 victory over Wigan in April, they needed just two points from their final three matches to clinch the trophy. However, defeats to Norwich and Bristol City followed by an 89th-minute equaliser by 10-man Aston Villa in their final match opened the door for Newcastle to sneak past them into top spot.
Newcastle won their final three matches of last season to lift the title and they visit the Amex Stadium on the back of three straight Premier League wins, which has lifted them into fourth place – five points ahead of Sunday’s opponents. Chris Hughton, who oversaw Newcastle’s previous Premier League promotion in 2010, will look to stop that gap growing further in what will be the first ever top-flight meeting between these two teams.
Brighton vs Newcastle
September 24, 2017, 3:30pm
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Will Gareth Barry eclipse Ryan Giggs’ record? (Arsenal v West Brom, live on Monday Night Football on Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm)
Gareth Barry equalled Ryan Giggs’ all-time Premier League appearance record in the goalless draw against West Ham last weekend and will break it if he appears against Arsenal on Monday Night Football. He made his first appearance for Aston Villa as a substitute in a 3-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday in May 1998 and now stands on the brink of history after a career which has also included spells with Manchester City and Everton.
Interestingly, Barry’s second ever appearance – and his first start in the Premier League – came on May 10, 1998 as 10-man Aston Villa overcame champions Arsenal 1-0 in the final match of the season, just a few days before the Gunners completed the double by winning the FA Cup final against Newcastle. Tony Pulis would love a repeat of that scoreline; indeed both of West Brom’s league wins this season have been by that margin.
Arsenal vs W Brom
September 25, 2017, 7:00pm
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass